Jeff Jensen
October 14, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

‘Lost’ (S4): The Kevin Smith interview

It’s October, and we’re still around four months away from Lost‘s season premiere. By that time — Spoiler Alert! — the Boston Red Sox will have beaten the Colorado Rockies to win the World Series, the University of California will have edged out the LSU Tigers for the college football national championship, and my hometown Seattle Seahawks will have capped a Cinderella season by beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Yes, my awesome Desmond-esque precognitive powers extend to the world of sports, too. Feel free to bet massive amounts of money on my flashes of the future — they’re (black) rock solid, I swear!

And yet, while Lost seems ages away, the show has not been forgotten in the culture. In fact, the ABC series seems to have a lot of fans over at…NBC. Did you see the season premiere of 30 Rock? Apparently, Jerry Seinfeld is a Lost fan. And did you catch the Lost shout out in Chuck? Seems the crash of Oceanic 815 is one of the secrets tucked away in the super-nerd’s head. (I know readers John Allman and Amy Moravetz spotted the homage — thanks for the email, dudes!) My friend Doc Artz over at thetailsection.com spotted Kevin Tighe — the actor who played Locke’s devilish dad Anthony Cooper — on Law & Order, playing a character named…Cooper. And if we really want to force the homage issue, might the boozy black beard sported by Heroes‘ high-flyer Nathan Petrelli be a nod to the mangy flash forward bush worn by death-wishing frequent-flyer Jack?

Someone else with Lost on the brain: filmmaker Kevin Smith. Several weeks ago, I had the chance to interview the Clerks director about his creative role in the delightful new comedy-drama Reaper on The CW. But we began our chat by talking Lost — yep, Silent Bob’s a fan. Listen:

KEVIN SMITH: Let’s give props to Lost. How brilliant was this season finale? I mean, it’s cruel because they’re not coming back until like January, but hats off for taking a foolproof formula and spinning it to make it even better. You’re like, ”Oh my God, so now they’re all flash-forwards?! How genius is that?” … We [had] all settled into ”Okay, this is what they do, they flashback and we learn a lot about the characters.” But that whole episode, you’re sitting there going, like, ”Wait a second — is that Jack’s father’s body [in the coffin]? But wasn’t the body on the plane? Who was this person in the casket that he’s going to see?” And then the moment where Kate f—ing walks up from the car and you’re like, ”Wait — they knew each other before?” And then all of a sudden, it becomes f—ing clear, you’re like, ”Oh my God, that s—‘s insanely brilliant!” You can only do that in TV, though. You can’t do that in a feature. You know what I’m saying? Like, you get a moment like that in a feature like The Sixth Sense, where you’re like, ”Holy s—, he’s been dead the whole time!?” But to do two seasons and then suddenly throw a massive curveball is just so dramatically satisfying, you just take your hats off to the writers in a big, bad way.

DOC J: The thing I really loved about the twist and that reveal is that I felt like it really reinvested your interest in the people, as opposed to mythological mystery questions like ”What the hell’s the smoke monster?”

SMITH: Absolutely. Suddenly it’s like, ”Who gives a f— about the polar bear, who gives a f— about the smoke monster, any of that — all the f—ing sci-fi weirdness just took a backseat to, like, ”Holy s—! Why did Jack and Kate stop being friends?”

DOC J: Right.

KS: I can’t wait. I’m so f—ing geared up for February. I just can’t f—ing wait.

NEXT: There’s no off-season for Lost bloggers; plus, Doc J.’s Burning Question of the Month

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Smith’s sentiment is shared by other Lost fans, too — some more credible than others. Over at the WashingtonPost.com, ace Lost watchers Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly have been keeping busy with a ”Lost Book Club.” (Yours truly participated in a discussion last month about the show’s links to the acclaimed comic book series Watchmen.) Fellow nutjob theorist Bigmouth has been fine-tuning his theories over at eyemsick.blogspot.com. Meanwhile, darkufo.blogspot.com — which has kept me highly amused with a series of increasingly ridiculous round-robin contests (from asking fans to vote on their favorite Lost character to…their favorite Lost prop) — continues pushing the rumor that ABC is moving Lost to a new night (the hubbub is that the show will be migrating to Monday), although its most recent report is that the network may be changing its mind. (My sources tell me that the plan is to keep Lost on Wednesday nights, though the timeslot is still TBD.)

And then, there’s this MySpace guy, who goes by the handle ”The ODI.” For many months now, The ODI (male; 33) has been causing controversy — and inspiring mad speculation — among Lost obsessives with a series of posts filled with alleged season 4 intel. A couple months back, I announced that I’d be spending the hiatus investigating these rumormongers, but I’ve had a change of heart. There’s so much contradictory information out there about the new season, clarifying what’s right and what’s wrong would run the risk of…well, spoiling the show. For now, maybe utter confusion is for the best. So ”spoil” away, Mr. ”The ODI.” Time will tell how credible you really are.

+++

BURNING QUESTION OF THE MONTH

”Hi Doc — My biggest problem with the season finale was Locke killing Naomi. It seemed really out of character and unnecessary. Couldn’t he have just injured her enough not to make the call? Did he really have to kill her? Could you probe the producers to find out if the audience will eventually find out Locke’s motivation for killing her?” — Tricia

Dear Tricia: Actually, Locke was aiming for her arm. Oops! Seriously, my read on that scene was that Locke was just trying to stop her from calling the freighter — her death was incidental, though acceptable given the stakes (which at this point only he seems to know). Also: do we know for sure she’s dead? First rule of Lost Theory Club: Assume nothing.

But you didn’t want my theory, did you? And so, because I aim to please, I gave exec producer Damon Lindelof a jingle, and while the experience fell far short of a ”probe” (creeeepy), here’s how he responded:

”After lying, gutshot, in a pit of Dharma corpses for two days and on the verge of taking his own life, an apparition of Walt appeared to Locke and said ”You have work to do.” I would dare say that we might be willing to give John the benefit of the doubt for any action he took in response to this series of events, even if considered slightly ”out of character.” I, for one, become VERY cranky when I get gutshot.”

A valid point, although I think Tricia’s fuzzyness on the matter is understandable: the finale — focused and stuffed as it was on Jack, Charlie, The Others, and other non-Locke momentousness — wasn’t really about capturing Locke’s state of mind. My guess is that very early in season 4, Lost will give us a story that will zero in on the very weird-and-warped place Locke finds himself in.

NEXT: Doc J’s Countdown to Season 4 Theory of the Month

DOC JENSEN’S COUNTDOWN TO SEASON 4 THEORY OF THE MONTH!
The big (and crazy) ideas I’ll be bringing with me into the new year of Lost obsessing.

BEN IS TRIPPING ON THE SAME FUTURE-FLASHING BRAINWAVES AS DESMOND.

MY ARGUMENT: Like Desmond, Ben receives flashes of the future, too. Of course, while Old Bug Eyes has been on The Island longer, and has actively cultivated a deeper rapport with The Island (or is that just Jacob?), Big Bad Ben has banked many, many, many more flashes than the formerly Hatched-trapped Scot. My belief is that Ben has seen the Ultimate End of the drama currently transpiring on The Island — the one involving The Castaways, his fellow Others, and even the newly arrived freighter people — and he’s either determined to do whatever it takes to make sure that Ultimate End comes to pass…or to thwart it. My theory explains Ben’s apparent menace, which I think is greatly misunderstood. Remember the Desmond episode where the lovelorn loser — heeding the implicit rules of his precognitive powers — seemed set to sacrifice Charlie’s life in order to facilitate the possible future that would have brought Penelope to The Island? In the end, Desmond didn’t have the guts to allow Charlie to fall prey to Rousseau’s bow-and-arrow booby trap. But Ben has such stones. He simply does what he has to do to make sure that the flashes that he’s foreseen happen exactly as they should (or shouldn’t) happen. From his point of view, Ben isn’t a diabolical villain but rather a helpless servant to predestined fate — a Happy Ending that only he knows. This would explain his forlorn melancholy in the Nikki/Paulo episode, in which Ben was spotted in The Pearl Station somberly, almost bitterly acknowledging the awful tactics he must use to bend Michael and Jack to his will. Remember: per the rules, as relayed via the Desmond storyline, each flash must transpire exactly as revealed, in the order in which they were revealed, for the final event in the sequence to come to pass. This business is so delicate, so precise, you can’t risk letting others in on it, lest they exert their own will and screw everything up; consequently, the future-facilitator is bound to come off aloof, shifty, even evil in the eyes of others.

So? What do you think? Am I onto something? Send me your thoughts and your own hatched-over-the-hiatus ideas at JeffJensenEW@aol.com, or simply fill out the form below. We’ll discuss them — as well as your reaction to last month’s column analyzing the mysterious new Orchid Station orientation film — in next month’s column. Until then:

Namaste!

Doc Jensen

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